We had a fun day yesterday, after having the “White Death” visited upon us Friday night (in these parts, that refers to a ghastly blizzard-like snow with accumulation of more than a millimeter). The Puddinette and I took turns shoveling the offensive semi-frozen material off the driveway while the kids played, and then everyone enjoyed a steaming mug of cocoa or apple juice (we have a child who is anti-chocolate, yet love him anyway). I got to thinking, afterward, and ended up feeling a skosh disappointed for the kids, because the snow dropped on a weekend and cheated them of the opportunity for the universally loved “snow day”.
Back in prehistoric days, when I was an elementary scholar (cola was a nickel and you walked uphill to school, both ways), there were few things as incontestably glorious as a snow day. Weekends were always great, sure, but most weekends included some act of distastefulness: a trip to Aunt Bea’s, who smelled like moth balls and old lady perfume and insisted on wet, full-pucker, ruby-colored cheek-kisses, or worse, a home-improvement project, like the infamous day-long garage cleaning. Grown-ups, throughout recorded history, have been coming up with schemes to ruin a kid’s weekend. Snow days, though, are, by definition, impromptu, and often include being housebound, which makes them inviolate from the meddlesome plans of adults.
I recall with much fondness those days, back before I was cursed with age, me, my brothers, and the usual cast of neighborhood miscreants spending hours in the manufacture of snow mounds in preparation for the King of Mound melee, as well as pitiful attempts to get our trusty Flexible Flyer sled to glide gracefully through 4 inches of soft snow. The real fun, of course, followed the hours of snow play, when retreating to the indoors with nearly numb fingers and toes for a dry pair of socks and soft comfy fleece pants yielded the inevitable hot chocolate and an afternoon spent languishing contentedly over a variety of games. Dungeons and Dragons, Monopoly, Parcheesi (The Royal Game of India!), and chess were all key components of winter days that helped sculpt my inner nerd.
I especially remember, on those snowy, stay-home days, my first bloodthirsty lessons in chess from my Dad, who has never, to my knowledge, intentionally taken a dive when the opponent’s King is still upright. Only now, as an adult employed by a manufacturer that must, regardless of rain, snow, sleet, or shine, produce a given number of actual parts every week to be profitable, do I see how fortunate my father was to be a teacher, subject to the same snow day rules as my childhood self. Also, now, I see how much it must have sucked for my mom, as the single extra employee in a psychiatrist’s office. Crazies (a clinical term, obviously) don’t take days off of being crazy just because white stuff falls from the sky. In fact, I can only imagine that such events likely encourage added wackiness. Not much opportunity to stay warm at home when your clients are hearing voices in the snow tell them to whip up some creamed spinach in case the “gray men” come back from Mars for a visit.
Like I said, after having all of these thoughts about the snow days from my past, I was a tad disappointed for my kids, who missed a chance with the poor timing of this storm. But then, because it was a weekend, with no parts needing to be shipped, I got the opportunity yesterday to enjoy a rare snow day for myself with my family and don’t mind admitting that I selfishly enjoyed the hell out of it.